I wanted to share my interview with fellow Christian author, Ginny Priz, about my battle with Infertility. It is filled with a message of HOPE in a very desperate time. Please share with someone who has a similar struggle or maybe just loves someone that is dealing with Infertility.
Stephanie Greer – Beauty From Ashes interview
For more information, you can read my book, “Full Heart Empty Womb: How I Survived Infertility…Twice.”
Want some inspiration and HOPE over the next 10 days?
My friend and fellow Christian author, Ginny Priz, is hosting an interview series called “Beauty from Ashes” on her website. She is interviewing 10 amazing women about how God helped them find HOPE in spite of their bad circumstances. And guess what?? I am one of them! I will be sharing about how God helped strengthen me through my battle with Infertility on Thursday, August 25th.
Please take a few and hop on over to Ginny’s website, sign up for the series, and be inspired!
Giggling. Dancing. Hugging. Singing Adele in 3 different keys. . .
And that is all in the first five minutes of my 9 year old daughter’s sleepover.
Then in the next 5 minutes. . .
Huffing. Puffing. Foot stomping. And of course….the dreaded eye roll.
GIRL DRAMA. As irrational as it is, it is totally natural. Or as my husband, Eric, insists when there are more than one females in a room together…it is inevitable. 😜
I LOVE that my daughter has found other strong girls with likewise strong personalities. I can’t wait to watch them grow up, take on this world and see what God has in store for them.
However, when they are young, sometimes they can trip over their big personalities and bruise some feelings on their way down. That is where us big girls who have been there and done that can help. We can’t totally ditch the Drama. However, we can help our girls side step some of the theatrics and learn to face it head on when it can’t be avoided.
So this morning before our fruit, bacon and waffles, we had a Mama and girls pow wow. We brainstormed what we could do to take care of our friendships.
Here is what the girls pledged to Ditch the Girl Drama:
- Be Kind. Kindness comes from the heart; it is love in action. I love my friends, so I will treat them with love and respect. But…
- If I Get My Feelings Hurt, I Will Talk it Out With my Friend…Not Other Girls. The best way I can deal with a situation is to go straight to my friend and talk to her about it. Talking to someone else about it is just gossiping and may hurt someone else’s feelings. Who knows? Maybe I just misunderstood! But if not…
- Ask for Forgiveness & Forgive Easily because…
- I Understand We All Make Mistakes. No one is perfect! We all talk or act before we think sometimes. And then I will…
- Learn From My Mistakes. I love and respect my friends, so I will do my best to make better choices next time. And, of course, I will. . .
- ALWAYS Have My Friend’s Back! Even though we decided to ditch the drama, there are girls that thrive on drama. We will support and take care of each other. Always.
As I type this, they are again giggling, singing and dancing to JT.
Funny. I plan on doing that very same thing this weekend on my Girls Weekend with my girlfriends of over 20 years.
I pray these sweet girls will be doing the same with each other in 2036.
Cute. Easy. Low time commitment. Those are my criteria for Pinterest. If I see more than 5 ingredients – X out of that immediately. If it looks like it will take me more than 30 minutes – Get outta my Face with that thing!
So when Eric and I decided to have a 4th of July Eve party, obviously I got a little Pinterest happy with all things Red, White & Blue.
Here are few things that I did that met all my criteria! And the best thing is almost all could be done the day before🙂
Jello Fireworks from Kraft Recipes. These were a HUGE hit with the kids!
Patriotic Strawberries from The Idea Room. These were so easy and my daughter, Ella, helped!
My Patriotic Fruit Pizza from House of Hawthornes was the only exception from making the day before because I wanted the fruit to be fresh. However, I went ahead and made the crust and topping then refrigerated them. I also washed and cut up the strawberries. It only took me about 15 minutes (with Ella’s expert help again!) to top and glaze the pizza before the party. Score!
Easy peasy lemon squeezy as Ella would say! Finally I got to sit down just in time to enjoy our fireworks :
Have a similar minimalist Pinterest attitude? Follow me on Pinterest for some great easy recipe ideas!
Have a Happy Independence Day!!!
“If you want to make the leap from awesome husband to ‘out of this world husband,’ you will go get me a Sonic Diet Coke every morning this week!!” I hinted to my husband.
Loud music. (played on repeat in your head forever.) Louder kids. (outnumbered 5 to 1.) Running around. (Non-stop for 4 straight hours)
And I signed up for it. With a smile.
It’s VBS. Say Ya Ya Ya Ya Yes for the Va Va B B S!!!!! (Now that is stuck in my mind!!)
I have taught VBS for the last several years. Every year I say it is my last year. And every year I sign up for more responsibility the following year😉 VBS is like childbirth. You forget about all the aches and pains and just remember the pure JOY. Like watching my sweet 1st graders sing, “I Am Remarkably Made!” Their precious smiles shine with their belief of every word they sing to the tips of their sweet totsies.
Here are 10 ways I Survive VBS:
- Procrastinate Not – Some people work best under pressure. I just curl in a corner and cry if I get overwhelmed. VBS can make you feel like you are swamped with so much material! Bible Lessons, crafts, memory verses, games, and the list goes on! I start 6 weeks before VBS and tackle a day each week. On the sixth week, I review the whole week. For each day, I will make lists of materials I need to buy and materials I need to bring from home for that day. I will also go ahead and complete any copies or cutting out that needs to be done. Spreading it out makes is less intimidating. I get a big grocery sack and put all the materials needed for each day and label with the day of the week. Has the procrastination ship already sailed? Skip to #9😉
- Teamwork– Get together with your fellow teachers. 2, 3, 4 heads are better than 1! Talking through the lessons with your peers will help you decide what will work best for your group. You can also go in together and get some wonderful things from Oriental Trading to help your week. Decorations and small prizes are reasonable and worth every penny. Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to!
- Delegate, Delegate, Delegate – If you are fortunate to have extra helpers for your VBS, then use them! In my classroom, we split up the Bible lesson, craft and game. Whoever owns that task they OWN it! It is their responsibility to make sure all the supplies are in order and lead that activity. You don’t have to do it all on your own. I love to involve our Youth in VBS. Some are proactive and others may need a bit more direction. Even if it is getting them to just sit between Chatty Cathy and Handsy MaGee, it is all appreciated!! And the kids LOVE to have the cool teenagers in the classroom. Honestly, it is as much a ministry to the youth as it is to our little ones! They are all the future of our Church.
- Visuals Engrave the Lessons in Their Little Minds – Any time you can include a
Ocean Trench “Submerged” VBS
visual aid in telling your story, it will help leave a lasting impression in the kids’ hearts and minds. Costumes, acting out scenes, and science experiments all engage the children. Engaged kids are listening and learning. I also love any visual that the children can take home as a conversation starter. Now VBS is reaching others that didn’t even attend! This week we gave our kids a sticker with a porpoise on it. When asked, the kids can explain that God has a specific purpose for each and every one of them😉
- Decorating: Less is More –In this Pinterest world, it is easy to get caught up in “who has the coolest room” mentality. The focus of the week really needs to be God’s Word and sharing His love with the children. I am not crafty. My prize decoration was a jellyfish made out of a Dollar Tree shower cap and curling ribbon. (I will admit I got a ton of compliments on it that made this girl feel pretty Miss Crafty!) Don’t worry about the decorations. After the initial excitement of walking into the cool VBS room, the kids are over it. They are ready to learn and be entertained! You do that…not the room J
- Don’t Overschedule – VBS week can be energizing and exhausting all at the same time. When we get home after a morning at VBS, I just need a bit to sit and decompress. I am so glad that we made a decision to not plan much of anything during the week of VBS. We go to VBS, enjoy family time, rest up and maybe have some pool time since it is 100 degrees this week!!!
- Invite Friends – Every year I ask my kids to give me a list of kids to invite to VBS. Most years I get a lot of no’s, but we never gave up asking. This year I hit the jackpot. I got six awesome kids to come with us! I had the extreme privilege to hold one of our sweet friend’s hand as she prayed and asked Jesus to live in her heart. Bless. It doesn’t get better than that.
- Trust the Holy Spirit – Often the parents have been planting seeds of God’s Word and Truth throughout the children’s lives. As teachers, we throw some VBS Miracle Grow on those seeds. Sometimes we have the privilege to introduce God’s love to kids to the first time. We do our part. We plan. We prepare. We practice our lessons. But it is the Holy Spirit that will prepare their little hearts for Jesus. We don’t have to carry that burden. We just do our part in God’s plan for the children’s salvation. It’s not our job to “save” anyone. Only Jesus can do that.
- Pray, Pray and Pray Some More – The whole week needs to be wrapped in prayer. From the workers to the children to the children’s parents. We need to be praying for the Holy Spirit to be present, for our words to be His, and for His love to be overflowing through us.
- Don’t Skip the Snack Table – Did I mention that the snacks are miraculously negative calories during VBS week? A Twix bar and a Diet Coke two hours after breakfast every day are totally necessary. Ministering to God’s children can boost your mood and your appetite. ;)
Now for a week long nap if I could just get that music outta my head…
What would I say if I ran into my 19-year-old self back in 1996?
“You are totally rockin the Rachel haircut, but you may want to rethink the overalls and Birkenstocks”????
Probably, but I would like to think I have learned a few other things in the last 20 years that I could pass along…
- Embrace your college years. It really is the time of your life.
- I know you desperately want to move into an apartment and be grown up. You have the rest of your life to worry about paying bills. Enjoy the cafeteria and showers you don’t have to wash while you can.
- Pay attention to the one class in college that teaches you about the internet aka “the world wide web.” It will kinda be a big deal.
- Don’t be afraid to stray from the pack. Sometimes the pack takes the wrong path.
- In a few years you will get your first cell phone. Several years after that, your iPhone will take the place of your watch, planner, calculator, camera, and Discman. Don’t let it take the place of real life. You never had all those things in your back pocket 24/7, so don’t feel like you have to now.
- Pound the pizza now. Your metabolism sets sail at 38 with no return in sight.
- You will never need to be ashamed of your NSync obsession. Get a poster of the curly headed one for over your bed, he too will kinda be a big deal.
- Save your $$ and don’t buy those Rollerblades. Your mama will make you buy a ton of safety gear that will make you look like a dork. And you suck at skating.
- Don’t just go for the nerd, be the nerd. Nerds rule the real world.
- Go ahead and move to NYC after you graduate. If you don’t do it when you are young, you never will. Just know that you won’t have a big periwinkle colored apartment and drink coffee all day at Central Perk. And you can always move back home.
- Listen to what your parents say. They actually have been there, done that and want to help you. And one day you will have kids and payback is a b!tch.
- Embrace how God made you and quit trying to change it. (IE… no amount of squats will remove the junk from your trunk and put the flat iron in the drawer for good.)
- Hold tight to your girlfriends. The same ones that stay up late watching “Fear” with you now, will be the ones that hold your hand and wipe your tears later. It will take a conscious effort to stay close as you age, but it is worth it.
- You can’t change him. Love him the way he is or move on because one day you will have children with him and they will inherit all of his…quirks😉
- Enjoy whatever stage in life you are in…even if they last a little longer than you anticipated.
- Learn to praise God in the hallway while you wait for the door to open. Look behind you. The door you expect to open isn’t always the one that does! Trust in God’s plan for your life.
- Many things will go your way, but some won’t. It’s when they don’t that you will have the opportunity to become a better person.
- Learn from your mistakes you made and forgive yourself immediately. God already has. You are no better than Him, right?
- Be diligent about taking your quiet time with yourself and the Lord. These quiet moments are where you will find your true strength.
- Never be afraid to reinvent yourself…even at 39.
Whether you know it or not, someone you love is battling infertility. Although 1 in 8 couples are infertile, it is rarely talked about and often misunderstood.
With Mother’s Day around the corner, it reminds me of a time that this holiday brought a mixture of pain and dying hope to me. Would I ever be able to celebrate Mother’s Day like all my friends? Would I be given looks or pity or just ignored all together this year? What were the chances that I would be pregnant by next Mother’s Day? Any chance at all? Would I ever be a Mother?
After writing my book, “Full Heart Empty Womb: How I Survived Infertility… Twice,” I have been asked many times about how to best support someone dealing with Infertility. As with most people hurting, I think it is good to offer specific help instead of “Let me know if I can do anything” because let me tell you – – she won’t.
Here are 9 ways you can help your Infertile Friend:
- Acknowledge that her pain is REAL. Studies have shown that the level of anxiety and stress that an infertile woman goes through is equivalent to someone dealing with cancer. Her infertility is never far from her mind. It is ever-present.
- Listen to her. There are no magical answers. Sometimes she may just need to cry and get her frustrations out. A shoulder to cry on is a tremendous blessing.
- Although well intended, most advice offered to Infertile women is actually more harmful than helpful. Erase these things from your vocabulary:
- “How are you?” unless a) you are really ready to listen and b) you aren’t in a big group and putting her on the spot.
- Anything that starts with “at least”. That just belittles her feelings.
- “Just relax! It is because you are stressing yourself out!” Have you ever stressed about trying not to be stressed? She has and it doesn’t help to be lectured about it.
- “You should just adopt and then you will get pregnant!” No one “just” adopts. That is a huge personal decision.
- “You just need to lose weight!” or “You are just exercising too much!” They are getting the medical advice they need from their doctors.
- Or the worst that I have heard countless times… “I wish I had that problem! My husband just has to look at me and I get pregnant!” Does that really need an explanation??
- Be thoughtful about pregnancy announcements. Although it is wonderful news, it is a reminder to her about what she doesn’t have. Don’t tell her in a big group where she will have to process it in the midst of a crowd while trying to keep control of her emotions. But make sure you tell her. My feelings were hurt terribly when I found out once that everyone knew about a friend’s pregnancy and no one wanted to tell me.
- Give her a free pass to miss baby showers or children’s birthday parties. They simply are just too painful. Offer to give a gift together and take care of the shopping and wrapping.
- Shower her with mementos that let her know that you are thinking of her and love her. Cards, flowers with encouraging scriptures are always appreciated. One of my favorite gifts I got when going through IVF was a nightgown from Soma that was in their Cool Night collections. Many drugs that infertile women take cause hot flashes making sleep elusive. The nightgown was such a thoughtful yet practical gift. If she travels for treatments, a gas card or restaurant card would be helpful. Fertility treatments are extremely expensive.
- Take her out for a night on the town. Go to a concert. Go to a Karaoke bar. Go dancing. Just enjoy a night with lots of silliness and giggles. Remind her that there is a lot more to her than not being a mother.
- If she is dealing with Secondary Infertility (someone who has had a child and is now dealing with Infertility), she could use help with childcare. There are gazillion doctor appointments for ultrasounds, blood work, and various other things. Most of these doctor offices will not even allow children to come.
- Pray for her. This is the single most important thing you can do for her. She needs to be bathed in prayer. Aside from the obvious prayer for her to get pregnant, you can also pray for:
- Clarity as she faces so many decisions on her Infertility journey
- Her husband and their marriage because Infertility is a huge strain on a marriage
- Other friends and family members to be sensitive to her needs
Infertility can be a wedge driven between friends, and over time, it pushes them further and further apart. My prayer for you is that instead it is an opportunity to show love and draws you into a more deep and true friendship.
Stephanie Greer is the author of “Full Heart Empty Womb: How I Survived Infertility … Twice.” To get your copy of her book, go to: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1503370879